Fear of Flying


Written with and for Anne Morrison


Who would have thought that something with such a pretty a name could cause such havoc?  The volcano lying beneath the Eyjafjallajökull Glacier in Iceland halted flights in Europe for almost three weeks between the months of April and May this year.

Facebook was filled with the effects of the eruption around the world, from tales of woe from stranded passengers to musings on how quiet the skies above Heathrow were.

The funniest post I saw was one remarking on the realisation of just how many people have dogs in South West London, presumably because the sound of their barking is normally drowned out by the roar of jet planes.

There is one group of people who will not have been affected by the ash cloud chaos – those who are afraid of flying.

For some people no matter how exotic the holidays are that are advertised on the back pages of the Sunday papers, no matter how quickly we can now get from London to Auckland, no matter how grim the weather might be at home, the lure of the jet plane just does not appeal.

This situation is fine as long as there is no need to travel by plane but with families dispersing not just across the country but across the globe, there may come a time when the ‘flight-phobic’ traveler decides that it is time to conquer their fears. This is where hypnosis can help.

Anne: ‘Why people are afraid to fly can vary from fear of being enclosed, fear of not being able to leave when they want to, fear of crashing, fear of take off, fear of landing.

For some people it will have been triggered by a particularly bumpy landing or take off or perhaps severe turbulence during the flight which triggered their fight or flight (no pun intended) response. Because they were in a plane they weren’t able to get out and so felt trapped.

There are many different ways in which hypnosis can help with phobias. One is hypno-desensitization which helps the person get really relaxed and then gradually, in their mind’s eye, introduces the fear making experience. As they gradually become comfortable at each level so the fear reduces. There is also the fast phobia cure. The client is asked to imagine themselves in the incident from just before they felt scared to just after the incident when they were feeling more normal again. This is ‘run’ back wards and forwards until the emotional connection is broken and they don’t respond in the fear induced way anymore. I think this is sometimes called the rewind technique. Eye Movement Desensitisation Reprocessing, which uses eye movements to help process the ‘fear’ and the situation.

Fear of flying, as with other phobias, does not need to be a problem for people they can be helped to overcome it and travel by plane.’


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